Table 5

Illustrative quotes from Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and .b participants

.b FoundationsMBSR
Prior awarenessSome: All participants had some prior knowledge or awarenessSome: Majority had some prior knowledge of mindfulness, one had no prior knowledge
Reason for attendingPersonal benefit (2/5)Personal benefit (3/5)
Pupil benefit (1/5)Pupil benefit (1/5)
Both personal and pupil benefit (2/5)Headteacher led (1/5)
ExperienceGroup as positive (5/5)Group as positive (4/5)
You get talking to people and you know we would share practice or share experiences and that was a valuable thing too so I think it was nice to do things in a group, and also from a personal point of view and, I have, you know with the best intentions of having doing mindful practice every day but I don’t always do as much as I should, and because I knew I was going to group, it made you. (Pt D)if you were to do that by yourself, then you would probably walk away, but the fact is there are other people in there, and those people reinforce what had gone on in our activity, and they said that they’d reuse it, and it had had a positive effect, so that does encourage you then to perhaps try it for yourself, not to get too, ‘Oh, I’m not sure if this is going to work, or if this is going to be right for me,’ you know. (Pt G)
Setting is important: needs to be convenient with minimal distractionSetting is important: needs minimal distraction
it was in a school I was working in so I didn’t have to go and get in the car and go anywhere so I never missed any of the sessions. On the other hand, it was in a school hall that’s normally used for an after school club so on the nights that the course was on the after school club were moved into a classroom next door and you could sometimes hear the noise of the children which was a little distracting in the beginning (Pt C)it’s very important ‘cos it was quite quiet, there were a couple of occasions when there was some drama going on upstairs, some practice, drama practice, they moved, you know, but I think it was nights they were voting and there was a lot of noise and I think it is important that you have a quiet space (Pt H)
Facilitator as school teacher: excellentFacilitator as passionate in subject: excellent
the facilitator, was, excellent and, you know, she’s obviously a real expert, she said it’s been part of her life for donkeys’ years and so she was, you know, she really understood what the barriers were and was able to sort of guide us through those weeks where you’re saying I’m, not getting anywhere with this and, you know, I’m not doing what I should be doing (Pt A)[Name of facilitator] was fantastic, you could see [facilitator] was passionate about the subject they were teaching (Pt G)
Barriers to attendanceFelt preconceived ideas will affect others attendanceFelt Preconceived ideas will affect others attendance
So they were a bit more black and white about it, it’s sort of all a bit fluffy for them maybe, I don’t know if this is the right terminology or, you know, but I think that it’s a little bit uncomfortable for them. (Pt A)um, there’s a sort of attitude with some people that it’s got to be, it’s a very sort of pure kind of Zen-like activity and you’ve got to do it in a particular way, you’ve got to be sitting in a particular way (Pt F)
Time perceived as too long (1.5 hours)Time perceived as too long (2 hours)
They were quite long, I would say an hour and a half is quite a long time to be in school extra so I think that would put some people with families off (Pt E)with school, it is hard to know, you know, an hour a week would be much easier for everybody, so perhaps the next step could be an hour a week and more people being able to commit to it, and if that’s, if you’re talking about teachers signing up to it, you know, I know out of experience (Pt H?)
Perceived impactCalmerCalmer
I’m so much calmer, so much calmer and just I think I’m more patient with the children in my class and everything and I’m just a bit more, less controlling really (Pt B)I’m more aware of when I’m getting anxious.when my breathing was getting a bit out of control and I’m getting uptight, I spot that much sooner and I feel I’ve got strategies I can use to sort of calm things down a bit (Pt F)
Less reactiveLess reactive
recognise the way I’m reacting to situations as well, you know, the trying to kind of think about, think you know, Paws.b, you know the kind of like, take those moments to you know reflect on what’s happening and just make me a little bit calmer rather than reacting to situations, having that moment of reflection (Pt E).so I’ve put that into practice, again just taking that sort of deep breath, not reacting to things as quickly, just taking a moment to think about it, and yeah, that’s sort of what I’ve been putting into practice (Pt I.
MoreawareMore aware
I feel I’m much more able to deal with situations where I see my colleagues getting really wound up and I stay really calm, and then they say to me, ‘How do you stay so calm?’ And I really think the mindfulness has helped me with that (Pt D).having done the course it sort of reminded you to sort of take that step sort of back and live in the moment because I think that because we have busy lives you’re so sort of thinking of, ‘right, what have I got to do next, what have I got to do next?”, and you miss what you’re actually doing (Pt I)
Commonly used techniquesBreathing techniquesBreathing techniques
I use the short, the sort of. b, the stop and think, you know the take a breath and calm down, that sort of thing. I use those for myself all the time when I’m dealing with children who are being aggressive or you know if because they’re angry about something and it’s helped me really to just stay calm (Pt D)when I feel stressed I go, right, slow down, stop, think about your breathing, but I haven’t made time in my daily routine really for the actual meditation which I know would help a lot (Pt H)
Body scanBody scan
one thing that they do where you’re sort of going through the body, you’re just very quiet and still and you focus on your breathing and you just kind of then through your body sort of literally just checking each part of the body, sort of rolling down, do you feel any discomfort, anything in your head and it’s done through you sort of looking through your body and I find that really relaxes me, so that’s one I’ve used quite a lot. The other thing is…(Pt C)the body scan exercise within the mindfulness is quite similar, and that, that I’ve started using a bit more of on myself as a means of sort of like at the end, especially at the end of the day when I go to bed now it’s body scan and it really does sort of like relax you to have a good night’s sleep (Pt I)